Point Supreme balance contrasting colors and textures in Athens apartment ―
During the last years, apartments in Athens are undergoing extensive renovations, mostly in light of the recent tourist boom, which requires abundant temporal housing. The Athenian “polykatoikia”, otherwise perceived as drab and unimaginative, is quickly becoming fashionable; in reality though, this trend often results in a standardized aesthetic, however focused on rediscovering and highlighting the “image of the city”: The outcome is unoriginal, because in fact there is no client. The latest work by Point Supreme stands against this current: In Ilioupoli, a quiet residential neighborhood, off the radar of tourist flows, the architects created a singular apartment for a young couple, in the half-finished basement of a “typical” dom-ino Athenian building of reinforced concrete.
The clients approached the architects with a 56m² pilotis and a very modest budget. Instead of regarding the commission as unimportant, the architects turned the program restrictions on their head and came up with an original idea: As the basement is only lit from its side, it gave a feeling of a magical cave, that had to be preserved under any circumstance after the redesign. Moreover, given the relatively limited surface, it was decided from the beginning that there would be no interior walls; instead, all partitions had to be lightweight and flexible, preserving the feel and function of an open plan.
The rough texture of bare concrete was maintained, complemented with visible electrical fixtures. The existing steel door and frames were preserved in place, coated in a warm orange. Those were combined with a bewildering array o new colors and materials, in singular textures, creating a tactile, playful living environment, vibrant in unexpected juxtapositions. The wood or glass interior partitions are transparent, and privacy is secured with ochre and sea-blue hanging curtains. Even the shutters at the storage cabins maintain the open, transparent feel of the space, covered in expanded aluminum lattice sheets. The floor is clad in new or salvaged natural terracotta tiles with a gentle shine, combined with the deep red case furniture in the kitchen. The concrete walls are either kept visible or covered in cork, or wood veneer. The former small bathroom is now transformed into an open shower, where all surfaces are covered in a bright baby blue. The surrounding garden, being the only source of light and greenery, is emulated indoors with lush planting, bringing together all different hues, shines and textures in the apartment.
The greatest challenge faced by the architects, in their own words, was to avoid “standard design decisions that would normalize the experience and kill the magic” The apartment in Ilioupoli, through its conrtrasting colors and textures, acquires a dream-like quality, far removed from any association with living in the center of an extensive, frenetic city, and is endowed with a singular personality.
Design by: Point Supreme
Photos: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis